A professed Southern Gothic songster based in Johnson City, TN, Amythyst Kiah’s commanding stage presence is only matched by her raw and powerful vocals—a deeply moving, hypnotic sound that stirs echoes of a distant and restless past. A graduate of East Tennessee State University, she studied old time music and music performance, and it proved to be a pivotal moment in her life as she transformed from a long-time closet musician into a well-rounded, captivating performer.
Accoutered interchangeably with banjo, acoustic guitar, or a full band (Her Chest of Glass), Amythyst’s toolbox is augmented by her scholarship of African-American roots music. Her eclectic influences span decades, drawing heavily on old time music (Mississippi Sheiks, Son House, Jimmie Rodgers, Olla Belle Reed, Carter Family), inspired by strong R&B and country music vocalists from the ’50s-’70s (Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn) and influenced by contemporary artists with powerful vocal integrity (Adele, Florence and the Machine, Megan Jean and the KFB, Janelle Monae).
Recent tours in Scotland and the U.K. have seen Amythyst performing for audiences at the Americana Music Association UK Showcase, the Southern Fried Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, and SummerTyne Americana Festival. She is a crowd favorite at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in the U.S., has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival.
Provocative and coolly fierce, Amythyst Kiah’s ability to cross the boundaries of blues and old-time through reinterpretation is groundbreaking and simply unforgettable.
“Amythyst Kiah’s secret weapon is her voice. When paired with the natural rawness of the guitar or banjo, her voice claws at the plastic wrap to get at that nugget residing in the deepest recesses of everyone’s soul.” ~ libromusica.com
“Kiah is an important and innovative presence in contemporary traditional music. Describing herself as a “Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer/songwriter,” Amythyst has a repertoire that honors tradition while crossing genres to illuminate many common threads.” ~ Sam Gleaves, The Bluegrass Situation
Opening for Amythyst Kiah is Mark Williams, a singer-songwriter who has taught environmental science in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and now teaches at the Environmental Charter School in Regent Square / Point Breeze. Mark writes, “I write music to keep myself together. When life falls apart I find it hard to get out of bed. Life is always falling apart. These songs are a part of my mourning routine. They help me get out of bed. Maybe they will help someone else to do the same.” Mark writes about the important topics with a big heart and an acoustic musical style somewhere between Ben Harper and Michael Franti.
“Had the pleasure of hearing Mark Williams perform… All I can say is powerful!!!” – Drew G.I. Hart, Teacher, Author, Activist (drewgihart.com)
Advance Tickets: $15 + service fee
At the Door: $20
Student/Reduced Income $5 discount.
Saturday March 3. Doors 7:00pm, Show 7:30pm, at First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, Shadyside, 605 Morewood Avenue, Pgh., 15213. All ages; wheelchair accessible. For more information, 412.621.8008 or email@example.com.